In the News: NH Experts Stress Need for Communication in a Crisis

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NH Experts Stress the Need for Communication in a Crisis

Consistent, timely and accurate information is essential, they say

It’s an unprecedented time for everyone, and with so many unknowns, the need for consistent, accurate and timely information couldn’t be greater.

Jayme Simoes, president and CEO of Louis Karno & Company LLC, a marketing and public relations firm based in Concord, says most businesses were unprepared for this public health crisis.

“We are reacting, not acting,” he said. “I met with a group (recently), and the responses ranged from ‘Everyone is overacting’ to ‘let’s just see what happens.’”

That’s not good enough, said Simoes, adding, “the number one thing any business can do right now is to think of the health and safety of their customers and staff.”

The second thing to consider is how best to communicate with staff and customers. Simoes said to make it clear what steps your business is taking to keep customers and employees safe.

“My advice is to take a cold, hard look at your protocols and be ready to change. Send a message that you care,” he said. “Finally, something like this will happen again. Take the time to prepare and plan.”

‘Communicate alternatives’

That ability to respond effectively is key. Now is the time for businesses and organizations to show how they can pivot and adapt to this evolving situation, said Robin Schell, senior counsel and partner at Rye-based Jackson, Jackson and Wagner, a behavioral public relations and management-consulting firm that specializes in crisis communication

“Articulate concerns, address them, and help people through them,” she said. “Communicate alternatives.”

According to Cathleen Toomey, vice president of marketing for The RiverWoods Group, organizations should ‘be proactive. Be honest. Be compassionate and human’ in their communications.

Toomey also stressed the need to speak with one voice to avoid mixed messages.

“We want to create one message that is then issued to all three campuses,” she said, adding that messages are tailored to meet the needs of specific audiences – staff, residents and the families of residents.

For more information on RiverWoods Durham’s response to COVID-19, see out latest update.